Natural disasters can strike anywhere at any time. Preparing for emergencies ahead of time can ensure the safety of your family and help reduce damage to your property. These resources are general tips that prove helpful in disaster prevention.
Make sure you have bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, and a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks.
For personal safety, identify what storm shelter is available to your family and prepare an evacuation plan. Choose two meeting places: one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire; and one outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
If you need to evacuate your home, turn off all utilities and disconnect appliances to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored.
Mitigation - There are steps you can take to help mitigate - or lessen - some of the damage to your home caused by natural disasters. Generally a mitigation plan will begin with a survey of your home and the area around your home to identify objects like yard debris that could compound damage to your home in high winds or under threat of wildfire. Your state insurance department or state department of emergency management can help you get started on a mitigation plan. Some states may even have programs to help pay for mitigation upgrades for homes in high threat areas.
Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for your insurance agent and Americas Insurance Company. Make a list that includes your policy numbers, your insurance agent's phone numbers, website addresses and mailing addresses. Also, check to see if your agent has set up an emergency information hotline, in case of storm damage. It is a good idea to store this information, and a home inventory, in a waterproof/fireproof safe or a safe deposit box. Also consider sending an electronic copy to someone you trust. If you have to evacuate your home, you want this information to be easily available to you.
A home inventory can be invaluable when deciding how much insurance your life situation requires to adequately insure your home in the path of a natural disaster. A good home inventory includes a detailed list of your possessions, including receipts, descriptions, and photos of your home contents.
Tornadoes can strike quickly, with little or no warning, and accompany thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Here are some tips for safety:
Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud; an approaching cloud of debris; or a loud roar—similar to a freight train.
Pay attention to weather reports. Meteorologists can predict when conditions might be right for a tornado.
If you are under a tornado warning, find safe shelter right away.
If you can safely get to a sturdy building, then do so immediately.
Go to a safe room like a bathroom or closet.
Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
Hurricane season is June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. History provides important examples of the potentially dangerous impact hurricanes can have and the need to be prepared. Here are some tips for safety: